Concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) company Vast Solar, and the Solar Methanol Consortium have been selected to receive $19.48 million (EUR13.2 million) from an Australian-German collaboration fund, HyGATE, to develop a world-first green methanol demonstration plant, SM1 in Port Augusta in South Australia.
Methanol is the most versatile hydrogen derivative which, if produced using clean energy, has the potential to decarbonise several hard-to-abate industries, including shipping and aviation.
A side benefit is that the project will utilise C02 captured in a pilot plant being developed by industrial technology company Calix and building products group Adbri to produce low emissions lime.
Vast Solar leads the Solar Methanol Consortium in Australia as Principal Energy Partner alongside Fichtner in Germany and is supported by Calix as Principal CO2 Supply Partner and the Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI).
SM1 will produce 7,500 tonnes per annum of green methanol and the consortium has attracted the interest of local and international offtakers, including major shipping companies and airlines.
The Port Augusta project is seen as a catalyst for a solar methanol industry in Australia, with the potential to export the fuel to Germany and other global markets, creating hundreds of highly-skilled jobs.
Other projects to be supported by the $50 million German-Australian HyGATE fund announced by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency were:
CEO of Vast Solar Craig Wood said SM1 had the potential to supply the shipping and aviation industries with zero-emission fuel.
“This is a major step forward in helping to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors and we applaud the Australian and German Governments’ leadership.
“With the support of ARENA and the Australian government, Vast Solar has become a world-leader in CSP, and today’s announcement has the potential to supercharge the domestic renewables industry.”
Calix CEO and Managing Director Phil Hodgson outlined how the Port Augusta project would utilise CO2 captured utilising Calix’s Leilac technology in a pilot plant being developed partnership with cement and lime manufacturer Adbri.
Calix’s Leilac technology enables the electrification of the process of calcination and the efficient capture of unavoidable process CO2 emissions.
Hodgson said: “Calix’s will be used to make zero emissions lime for Adbri customers, using renewable electricity and efficient capture of unavoidable CO2 emissions from limestone.
“At the same time, Calix and Adbri are excited to work with the Solar Methanol Consortium to enable the supply of captured CO2 emissions to make green methanol.
“We look forward to the outcomes of the HyGATE project, which has the potential to further catalyse support for CO2 capture and to pioneer new green fuels for aviation and shipping.”
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Picture: Vast Solar